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One in two UK executives experiencing resiliency gap: SAS

Despite three straight years of ongoing disruption and economic ambiguity, when it comes to resiliency, 56% of UK executives admit their company is not where it should be. This is among the top findings in a global business survey report by analytics firm SAS. The Resiliency Rules Report explores UK business resiliency and the steps companies take to navigate change and seize opportunities.

To complement the report, SAS has developed a new resilience assessment tool. The free online assessment tool enables business leaders to appraise their own company's resiliency quotient based on the five core "resiliency rules" explored in the study.

In November, SAS conducted in-depth interviews with business leaders in Brazil, France, Germany, India, Japan, the UK, Benelux, Iberia and the United States to understand senior executives' perspectives on business resiliency and their approaches to leadership during volatile times. In addition, a proprietary online survey was conducted with 2,414 senior executives working full-time within financial services, retail/consumer goods, manufacturing, healthcare/life sciences, or government from December 16, 2022, to January 4, 2023, in the countries mentioned above.

Among the UK respondents, 62% of executives are optimistic about the future of their country's economy, and 86% are confident about achieving resiliency within their organisation. Yet 79% admit they need guidance to implement an effective resiliency strategy. The research also indicates a resiliency gap between executives' importance on resiliency and how resilient their organisations are.

According to the survey data, nearly all (99%) executives believe resiliency is very or somewhat important, yet less than half (44%) perceive their company as resilient. In addition, more than half (57%) admit they are not fully equipped to face disruption and struggle in addressing challenges such as data security (60%), productivity (57%), and driving digital transformation (54%).

While the resiliency gap is today's reality, 86% of respondents believe it is attainable with the proper guidance and tools. And 90% of the respondents see data and analytics as critical tools for a resiliency strategy.

“Organisations must think beyond having some resiliency. They need protection from existential threats that could potentially wipe them out overnight, and we’ve seen examples of this recently in the banking sector. We want to help executives across industries use data and analytics to build a truly sustainable resiliency strategy,” says Roderick Crawford, senior vice president of SAS in Northern Europe.

“By taking the Resiliency Index, the research and assessment tool we have just launched, organisations can identify areas of existing strength and areas where growth is possible. That insight will help them close gaps and strategically fortify the tools and systems that make them agile in the face of challenges and disruption, as well as helping ensure their long-term survival.”

SAS identified five principles instrumental to maintaining and strengthening business resiliency: Speed and agility, innovation, equity and responsibility, data culture and literacy, and curiosity.

Referred to as the five resiliency rules, SAS’ research examined how executives prioritise and implement each. One thing was clear. High-resiliency executives place higher value and invest more than low-resiliency executives in each area. This was consistent in the responses across country and industry segmentations, indicating executives view these as fundamental components for a resiliency strategy.

A key takeaway from the executive research is the critical role of data and analytics in implementing the resiliency rules. Nearly all high-resiliency UK executives (86%) prioritise analytics and AI to inform decision-making, which is key for navigating change and ensuring business continuity. In addition, the highly resilient business executives claimed to successfully address data security concerns (62% vs. 18% low resiliency).

For the study, SAS created an assessment methodology called the Resiliency Index to understand where resiliency fits into executives’ priorities and investments. SAS categorised UK respondents into three categories: High resiliency (23%), moderate resiliency (60%), and low resiliency (17%).

Comparing the business practices of each, high-resiliency executives view having a structured strategy as integral because it addresses more than managing disruption but plays a part in business stability. In addition, a resiliency strategy impacts key business metrics, including job performance and consumer confidence.

Helping companies close the resiliency gap starts with getting the correct data and analytics in the hands of executives. SAS has launched its resiliency assessment tool as a free tool based on the Resiliency Index for anyone to conduct their business assessment and action planning. This tool and insights from the high-resiliency executives in the report deliver practical guidance for fostering excellent business resiliency.  

“The SAS AI/ML platform continues to play a critical enabling role as we transform our manufacturing and commercial practices,” says Steve Bakalar, vice president of IT digital transformation at Georgia-Pacific.

“SAS’ resiliency assessment tool research resonates loudly against the methods and strategies we are driving. All five principles are essential components to embed resourcefulness and resiliency into organisations that seek to flourish in these very challenging and rapidly changing business conditions.”

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